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Does Obama’s Executive Order on Gun Control mean a Permanent Cease Fire?

President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden and gun violence victims, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, about steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence. Also on stage are stakeholders, and individuals whose lives have been impacted by the gun violence. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama, joined by Vice President Joe Biden and gun violence victims, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, about steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence. Also on stage are stakeholders, and individuals whose lives have been impacted by the gun violence. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Ivan Calixto, News Writer

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President Barack Obama bit the bullet on January 5.

Obama revealed his new proposal to address the nation’s issue with gun violence. His plans include new background check requirements and an increase in gun education and improved enforcement at the state levels.

An executive order means that the President did not need to acquire legislative approval before passing it. An order can also not be overturned.

The order has raised concern as well as praise, with some fearing that President Obama may be violating the Second Amendment with the terms of his executive order.

“I do believe it [the Second Amendment] is being violated” said AVHS junior Justin Smithwick. “I do think America has a serious problem with gun control, but I don’t think we should ban any firearms; I think more gun control would create more hatred to the government by the people who have to live off of hunting and [things] like that that need to shoot guns.”

The Second Amendment is often cited as a key part of the gun control debate; however many often forget what its original purpose was: the Second Amendment was meant as a safeguard to guarantee that the nation would not be overcome by any military power, foreign or domestic. In the case that the military were to become unavailable, it was hoped that civilian militias would rise to defend the country.

In more rural states where it is not uncommon for help and neighbors to be located miles away, many people would feel more comfortable with the possession of a gun, either on them or at home. And in states like Alaska, where wild animals such as bears and wolves roam free, not possessing a gun is almost unheard of.  In fact, according to National Vital Statistics report, over 60% of the population in Alaska owns a gun.

However, there are also some who believe the Second Amendment is an outdated custom, and is no longer relevant to the gun control debate.

“The Second Amendment was created multiple centuries ago as a safeguard against abuses of government power,” said AVHS senior Sophie Ober. “During the 1700s, King George III denied the colonists their basic rights when they were attempting to free themselves from his rule, thus they created the Second Amendment in hopes that the future government of the US—if they became too powerful—could be overthrown by a militia formed by the free people. This is clearly not relevant in the current gun control debate; the government is not the one killing people, the ‘free people’ are killing each other without reason.”

It is also possible that some may be misunderstanding the actions proposed by President Obama’s executive action.

“First of all, his proposed plan does not establish any new regulations. Obama’s plan would not take any guns away from people OR prevent any law-abiding citizen of the US from getting a firearm,” said Ober. “The core of what the executive order promises is a crackdown on unregulated gun sales; Obama hopes to improve background check systems to prevent people from illegally distributing firearms, primarily on the Internet.”

During CNN’s Town Hall, Kimberly Corban, a rape survivor who stated she owns guns in order to provide safety for her family, asked the president why he was making it harder for her to obtain a weapon, to which he said, “I just want to repeat that there’s nothing that we’ve proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm.”

In fact, Obama has shown sympathy for his fellow gun-owning Americans. During Town Hall, Obama also stated, “Michelle and I are campaigning out in Iowa . . . At one point Michelle turned to me and said, ‘You know, if I was living in a farmhouse where the sheriff’s department is pretty far away and somebody could just turn off the highway and come up to the farm, I’d want to have a shotgun or a rifle to make sure I was protected and my family was protected.’ And she was absolutely right.”

One of the main arguments that pops up in the gun debate, is the phrase “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” or rather– Don’t blame the weapon for the operator’s actions. The argument is heavily debated, with various sides presenting their point of views.

“I see people using it as an excuse for all the violence that happens in this country far too often,” said Ober. “Clearly guns [by themselves] don’t kill people, but they make it significantly easier for people to kill people.”

“My dad was a hunter, I grew up with guns, my siblings grew up with guns, and we were all taught that if we respected the weapon, the weapon would respect us,” said 2015 AVHS graduate Natalie Mozer. “People like to talk about how often guns kill people, but they almost never talk about the times that guns have saved lives,”

For example. in July of 2012, the Associated Press reported a story on a 14 year-old boy who was babysitting his younger siblings while their parents were not home. When a strange woman kept knocking on their door, the boy gathered his siblings and used a handgun to shoot a man who had broken into their home, thus saving them from any potential harm.

While the topic continues to be heavily debated, with many Americans finding themselves torn on the issue, one thing is for certain: change is coming. Whether or not it is a step in the right direction, the way this country handles the distribution, possession, and use of firearms will no longer be the same.

NOTE: For a more specific list of the terms proposed by the president’s executive order, check out the list after the jump.

Specific actions include, among other measures:

  • Directing the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to require any businesses that sell guns to obtain a federal license and conduct background checks. This includes internet sellers, gun shows, and gun stores.  
  • Requiring the ATF to issue a rule requiring background checks for purchasers of certain dangerous firearms and other items who purchase them through a trust, corporation or other legal entity, as well as issuing a rule clarifying that gun dealers/licensees who ship firearms have the responsibility to notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
  • Instructing the FBI to improve the background check system to make it more efficient and accurate.
  • Requiring inclusion of mental health information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the background check system about people who are prohibited from owning a firearm..
  • Calls for increased funding to ATF for the hiring of 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce existing gun laws.
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Does Obama’s Executive Order on Gun Control mean a Permanent Cease Fire?